Coming to a Shelf Near You: New Maple Syrup Grades

Many of the food products you buy are based on your uniquely personal preferences. You may love mild sauces and salsas, but choose the very sharpest cheddars and hottest pepper jacks when it comes to cheese. You prefer deep, rich, dry red wines over sweet, fruity blends or chardonnays and so on. These differences are clearly identifiable and simple to make, but that hasn’t always been the case with pure maple syrup. Fortunately, new maple syrup grades legislation will make it easier to find (and enjoy) your favorite maple flavors.

The International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) had you in mind when it began to develop the international maple grading system in 2002. Grading maple syrup was originally based on translucence and density, and different markets (i.e. United States, Vermont, Canada) defined these ranges using different grades and different terminology. For instance, if syrup had a light transmission of between 60.5% and 44.9%, it would be designated a No. 1 Light/Grade A in Canada, but a Grade A Medium Amber in the United States. Under the new proposal, maple syrup grading will remain based on translucence, but it will now be unified under universal standards and descriptors, making it easier for consumers to understand them. These new maple syrup grades are planned to take effect at the consumer level in 2014.

The New Maple Grades Are Intended to Eliminate Confusion

Under the previous grading system, many people did not understand the terminology or how the grades differed from each other. The IMSI proposal will establish two primary maple syrup grades based on color and flavor profiles. Our Maple Syrup Grades page clearly illustrates these new maple grades, including flavor comparisons to the older grades.

When you look at these new maple syrup grades, you can see why it will be easier to get a sense of the flavor. As a general rule, the darker the syrups (produced later into the season) will have a more substantial maple taste than the lighter syrup varieties (harvested earlier). Just as it is with any other food product, maple syrup preferences tend to be very specific (and different) from one individual to the next. Many people prefer a lighter maple flavor for pancakes, but enjoy a richer taste for their recipes. For others, it is the complete opposite. The new grades make these flavor distinctions (from delicate to robust) very clear.

Learn More About The New Maple Syrup Grades

With the rollout planned at the consumer level in 2014, there may be a brief period of time in which you’ll see the older grade labeling on your grocery store shelves and farm stands right next to the new maple grades. During this transitional period, you’ll be assured complete access to all your favorite maple syrup flavors without any disruption in availability. The older labeling products will likely be phased out by the end of 2014.

If you’d like to keep current on the latest information around the maple syrup grade changes, check back here at our Maple blog regularly for updates. If you have any specific questions on these new maple grades, please give us a call at 888-266-6271 or email us at

With seven generations of experience under our belts, you will find superior flavor and quality in every bottle of Coombs Family Farms 100% pure and organic maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is a healthy, delicious, and versatile sweetener and can make all your favorite meals even better. Try some today!